Guest Post via @wmjackson: The Value of LinkedIn for All Students

The Value of LinkedIn for All Students
by William Jackson, M.Ed

Competition for employment, internships, scholarships,
grants and other forms of financial assistance and entrance
into higher education has grown tremendously in the past years.

Students should understand that digital tools and resources
that aid in obtaining/starting a professional career should be
welcomed and a investment in time. Social Media platforms are
not valuable if they do not promote a student’s SWAG and Brand
that holds the key to their talents, skills, abilities and leadership
qualities. As an instructor at Edward Waters College teaching
Educational Technology and Social Media I attempt to empower
my students with the knowledge of using Social Media in a
positive way.

One of the challenges for students is making a positive
Brand and marketing it with SWAG, high lighting skills,
talents, educational achievements, and leadership skills.
A college/university undergraduate must sell themselves
to the world they want to enter.
Technology allows for transcending physical networking
and allows a digital platform using platforms like LinkedIn
to make connections that may have not otherwise occur.

LinkedIn.com is arguably the largest online professional
network not to be confused with Facebook which is a social
network. The versatility of LinkedIn can be seen with its
presence in over 200 countries and over 2 million companies
have LinkedIn pages.

A student’s LinkedIn is to set up for “connections” and “linking”
within the network. The combination of free and paid accounts
can assist with connectivity and increased link-ability with others.
This is important to understand when searching for entry level, professional and executive level positions;
opportunities to Internships, volunteering and mentoring.

LinkedIn allows information that represents or defines that
person and their qualifications to be shared with those of similar
interests. Companies can use keyword searches to find prospective candidates. A LinkedIn page houses various information that can
define who a student is that aligns with their Brand and just as
importantly their SWAG. I define SWAG as “Students Working
towards Academic Greatness,” allowing potential employers to
search by skills, talents, hobbies, volunteer/community engagement, education, previous employment experiences and associations.

The advantages of LinkedIn can be seen with photos, social
media feeds (Twitter, Blogging, About.me), having a personal
URL (uniform resources locator) or web address. This creates
a foundation to build a network, just as a house needs a solid
foundation LinkedIn allows a person to create a networking
foundation based on their skills/abilities/talents. The ability
to LINK to build or construct your network of businesses
collaborations and entrepreneurs. This is a dynamic relationship
on technical modification that enhances the user not like
a static traditional resume.

Teaching Educational Technology at an HBCU Historically
Black College and University; allows the opportunity to
teach the benefits of Social Media where typically it is not
included in the instructional curriculum. Overlooking virtual
networking that social media provides can put students at
a disadvantage when they are required to network and
collaborate. Competing on a global or national scale depends
on those you are connected to, that is why the game of golf
is held with such high esteem.

It is not just hit the ball into the little hole, it is connecting,
networking and collaborating with peers or cross generational
exchanges of information.
Integrating LinkedIn into my course empowers my college
students to bring their abilities to the educational, business,
corporate, scientific, musical, and other professional worlds.
HBCU students cannot pass up opportunities to that provides
skills that leads to academic growth and career enhancement.
LinkedIn will provide High School students before graduation
visibility and a competitive edge when seeking employment
and career building. This is more productive than Facebook
or other Social Media sites that only promote the social side.

Words of caution for students should be considered when joining
any social media group, caution should be exercised when sharing
personal information and the type of digital content (text and video posted). LinkedIn represents communities, not everyone who
potentially connects with you has generous or professional motives.
Just as in the “real world” be cautious and continue to learn.

When posting content potential employers will view profiles,
checking spelling, grammar, and the ability to write; creating
digital content. It cannot be stressed enough, be careful of
what is posted online and who/whom you’re associated with.
Embellishing (enhancing) your qualifications and abilities
can be embarrassing, be honest, be truthful When discussing
qualifications and abilities, the importance of internships,
volunteering, mentoring contribute to leadership abilities
that many careers look for. Do not pass up the opportunity
to volunteer, manage, lead, coordinate and take charge of
situations, this shows diversity in your abilities.

Making connections by Twitter (microblogging),
Blogging, Goggle +, and other SM sites has inherent
challenges. Be careful who you’re associated with.
People will judge you by those you are seen with
physically and digitally.

LinkedIn for High School Students
LinkedIn for Students

Resources:
“Recruiting professionals strongly recommend using business
networking sites.”
(Stone, L. Are You LinkedIn?)
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/wdjackson
About.me – online free bio site http://About.me/wmdjackson

 

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